If your last name starts with a `P`, it seems the Motorsport UK National Title is the place to be in 2021. If not, don’t worry, you’re still welcome.
Setting a blistering pace in the Welsh forests of the Nicky Grist Stages, Fiesta R5 pilot Elliot Payne took his maiden category victory on the second round of the series, putting firmly behind him the zero points score of the season opening Oulton Park encounter.
Payne and co-driver Cammy Fair were instantly at home on the Epynt gravel to win seven of the eight stages and show they are a force to be reckoned with this season. Their stage times were good enough for sixth overall in the event, against seasoned BRC experts and all without taking part in the pre-event recce thanks to aiming for BTRDA points as well.
Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson would be Payne’s nearest challenger in their Fiesta WRC. Losing six seconds to Payne on the opener saw them get their bit between their teeth on the second test to snatch one second back but it would be damage limitation from then on, 23 seconds the deficit as the cars headed for the finish. But Petch’s result was enough to vault him to the top of the National Title standings with an eight-point gap to Payne.
Making a dramatic BRC comeback, would be Duns driver Garry Pearson and Irishman Niall Burns in the co-driver’s seat of their Mitsubishi Evo IX. Having contested the series in the two-wheel-drive era, Pearson heaved his older spec Mitsubishi across the stages with vigour to set some impressive times throughout the day. Brake issues hampered progress, but the Scotsman grabbed third on his National title debut.
Thomas Preston and Carl Williamson made the switch from WRC machinery to an R5 Fiesta for the Grist but failed to repeat their round one win with gearbox issues on stage three. Alan Carmichael and Claire Williams were looking likely to secure fourth spot in their Hyundai i20 R5. Suffering with dust and catching the cars in front, Carmichael was sadly not classified as a timecard issue meant they were recorded as a non-finish as the results went final.
Open to all Motorsport UK compliant machinery, Jason Black would bring his raucous rear wheel drive Toyota Starlet to the category to sample gravel for the first time; and did so in fine style. Using each mile to get used to the powerful two-litre machine on the loose, Black and co-driver Karl Egan manhandled the Toyota to fourth.
Stuart McLaren played his Joker in Wales for the chance of additional points as he threw his stunning Historic Opel Kadette around the forests. With John Anderson on the notes, McLaren crept into the points for the first time this season to round out the top five.
Check out the championship points tables HERE